Slovenia PM offers to resign over corruption

Slovenia PM offers to resign over corruption

LJUBLJANA - Agence France-Presse
Slovenia PM offers to resign over corruption

Slovenian demonstrators sing as they hold placards and candles during an antigovernment protest in Ljubljana in this december photo. AFP photo

Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa said he would offer to resign as party leader yesterday after the country’s anti-corruption watchdog reported irregularities in his assets and bank accounts.

“I will offer my resignation from the SDS [Slovenian Democratic Party] leadership to the party’s council on Wednesday,” Jansa told state television late Jan. 8. “If my arguments do not satisfy them, that will also mean my resignation as prime minister.” Jansa, who enjoys strong support within his center-right party, nevertheless added that he may continue in his position.

“If they are satisfied with my explanation, I will not resign,” he said, adding that he would ask for a confidence vote within the party at the meeting.

‘Irregularities found’

The SDS’s managing council was set to meet yesterday to discuss the anti-corruption watchdog’s new report. On Jan. 8, the Slovenian watchdog said it had found irregularities in the assets and bank accounts of Jansa and Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Jankovic, as part of a larger probe. Jansa apparently failed to account for 210,000 euros between 2004 and 2012, while in the case of Jankovic the sum topped 2.4 million euros.

“We found multiple violations of the legal duty of a public office holder to report his assets as regards to dealings in cash, ownership of real estate [and] ownership of movables,” watchdog head Goran Klemencic said of the enquiry into Jansa.

The prime minister said, however, that the report had “manipulated” some facts and that he had responded to every question posed to him by the anti-corruption commission. He admitted only to having “been late in declaring some assets.”

The anti-corruption watchdog decided to probe all parliamentary party leaders after the 2011 elections, with irregularities emerging only in the cases of Jansa and Jankovic, who heads the country’s other major party, the center-left opposition group Positive Slovenija.

Parliamentary Speaker Gregor Virant, leader of the junior coalition partner Civil List, urged the two men on Jan. 8 to step down.